Novel Approach: Wander among ‘The Unpassing’
“Just living is not enough...one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.” — Hans Christian Andersen
Wander through the Alaskan wilderness of our latest read. The author takes the readers by the hand and diligently tours them through Alaska’s forests and mudflats, exposing a merciless natural beauty.
“The Unpassing” by Chia-Chia Lin
In her debut novel, Chia-Chia Lin takes little mercy upon the readers, plunging them deep into the ravaging waves of loss. Gavin, the child protagonist, tells the story of how his family fails to move forward after a great tragedy. Each person in his family is stuck, pulled under by the riptide of their grief as Gavin and his family half-heartedly try to paddle their way to shore. Lin’s prose beckons to the reader to wander deeper into the forest behind Gavin’s home to wander with him and his siblings to escape the cloying tensions between his parents. His mother wants to return to Taiwan and his father drinks to dull the pain of his withering American Dream, both refusing to address their mutual heartbreak. Gavin watches on as his older sister pulls away from her family to become more like her peers as his younger brother seems to crumble internally as he seeks truths no one will share. Lin’s novel explores the fragility of identity while exposing the sense of placelessness that can accompany immigration.
From the book jacket…
“Routine takes over for the grieving family: the siblings care for each other as they befriend a neighboring family and explore the woods; distance grows between the parents as they deal with their loss separately. But things spiral when the father, increasingly guilt ridden after Ruby’s death, is sued for not properly installing a septic tank, which results in grave harm to a little boy. In the ensuing chaos, what really happened to Ruby finally emerges.”
In you enjoy…
Readers who enjoy Lin’s prose should fall under the narrative spell on Donna Tartt’s richly woven novel, “The Goldfinch.” The story unravels as a young boy, Theodore Decker, comes of age with only a painting and a tragic memory as his constant companions